Many of us think of New Year's resolutions in terms of what we want to accomplish or change from a personal perspective. However, research tells us that most people have already broken their resolutions by this time of year.
Something that has helped me with my career growth is to evaluate annually where I am in my career and where I ultimately want to go. This can be done in conjunction with the start of a new calendar year, the company's annual evaluation process, or some other date that has significance. When I was still early in my career, I wasn't quite as sure of what I ultimately wanted to do. However, I still used this time to think about what I did over the past year, including those things I really enjoyed and those things I didn't like so much. This process helped me to evaluate what I wanted to pursue further in the upcoming year as well as those things that drained my energy.
Early in my career, I often approached this from the perspective of my next title or position. However, as I gained more experience, I shifted my thinking to approaching it from evaluating skills, experiences, likes, and dislikes, which gave me the flexibility to consider opportunities that I may not have considered previously because I was no longer boxed in. I also used it as an opportunity to talk with my managers about the areas in which I thought I could add value to the organization over the coming year, versus just thinking about what I wanted to get from the organization.
I found this also was a good time to think about specific things that I wanted to accomplish over the next 12 to 18 months and then to come up with a project plan, consisting of a task list and time line. This process allowed me to break a big goal down into smaller steps, which increased the likelihood of success.
If you haven't already done so, I also encourage you to complete a self-evaluation of where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan to get there. As you do this, remember it is more than the title or the next position.